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Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a very common condition. There are over 3 million cases of it in the US alone every year. It’s commonly treated with a process called scaling and root planing. While this treatment is effective in treating most cases, it can leave you feeling a bit uncomfortable. So what can you do after the procedure to help?

What You Eat

Sensitivity after a scaling and planing treatment is totally normal, even expected. As such, it’s smart to pay a bit more attention to what you choose to eat than you might normally. Avoid foods and drinks that are acidic, food that may be difficult to chew or eat, and foods that have pieces small enough that they could get stuck in your gums. These types of foods can get in the way of you being able to heal properly and should be avoided after the procedure for 2-3 days. You may find softer foods more comfortable to eat instead.


You may experience some pain and swelling around your gums after a scaling and planing treatment. Taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Advil can help. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent an infection. Take that as prescribed if you are given one, making sure to finish out the entire prescription as directed.


How you clean your mouth after scaling and planing may need to change just a bit for a short while. Avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours, since that can lead to more bleeding. After that, rinse your mouth with saltwater 4-6 times per day to keep it clean and reduce your risk of infection. Be gentle when you clean your teeth. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and use gentle, circular strokes. You’ll probably have some sensitivity, so take your time, be patient, and be slow, yet deliberate, about how you clean your teeth while you wait for the sensitivity to pass.

It’s always a good idea to know what to do in the aftermath of any dental procedure. Proper aftercare can make a huge difference in the recovery you experience in addition to impacting the end result. Be sure to ask Dr. Updike if you have any questions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing after a scaling and root planing treatment.

Need to set up an appointment with Dr. Updike? Click here to get your next appointment at South Temple Dental scheduled today!